Is plastic pollution the most important environment subject for schools to address with students?

In honour of Plastic Free July 2023, UK primary school teachers are being encouraged to pre-register to receive a free-of-charge environmental education pack ahead of the summer holidays, with the resources available to download on return to school in September.

The Education Pack is part of The Breteau Foundation’s ‘Plastic Changemakers’ initiative in collaboration with award-winning global independent animation studios ZAG and Mediawan Kids & Family. The initiative aims to inspire and empower 1 million primary school children around the world to take action against plastic pollution by providing access to quality education on the subject.

Created by educational and environmental experts and aligned to curricula, the Plastic Changemakers Education Pack provides teachers with a comprehensive and flexible set of lesson plans and activities, designed to make life easier for educators to teach on the subject. 

The pack contains five modules and seeks to equip children aged 7-11 with a comprehensive knowledge about plastics, empowering them to become ambassadors for change in their homes and local communities and kickstart a global movement on responsible plastic use.

The Breteau Foundation said that the Plastic Changemakers Education Pack is responding to demand from students to learn about the topic of plastic pollution, whilst also taking pressure off time-stretched teachers who are having to dedicate additional time and money to provide environmental education to their students.

New research commissioned by the foundation surveying over 500 primary school teachers nationwide shows that UK primary school teachers have collectively spent around £13 million of their own funds to provide pupils with environmental education. The study also revealed that teachers dedicate an average of five hours each month to creating educational materials and lesson plans on environmental topics.

Primary school teachers that took part in the study identified plastic pollution as being the most important subject to address when teaching children about the environment, followed by the climate crisis and sustainability. The demand for environmental education also stems from students, with 88% of teachers reporting that concerned pupils have specifically asked how they can make an impact in reducing plastic pollution.

Further research shows that 98% of teachers feeling they have a vital role to play in the plastic crisis, and that 87% of teachers advocate for more education on plastic pollution within the UK primary education national curriculum. Additionally, 96% believe that providing education packs would be valuable, and 86% argue that primary school children require more creative and engaging resources to foster active participation in discussions about this sort of pollution.

Alongside the Education Pack, The Breteau Foundation, ZAG and Mediawan Kids & Family have co-produced an episode of the award-winning series, ‘Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir’ simply called “Action,” where the characters of the show seek to demonstrate how small efforts can make a big impact in the fight against plastic.

‘Miraculous: Tales of Ladybug and Cat Noir’ on the education packs

Sebastian Breteau, founder of The Breteau Foundation comments: “Our international experience in education has shown that children want to see more responsible plastic use in their homes and communities. 

“We want to inspire over one million primary school children to become plastic changemakers, and by equipping them with the right knowledge, we believe we can kick start a global movement on responsible plastic use.” 

Emma Becker, Executive Director at The Breteau Foundation adds: “As a former teacher, I know first-hand the pressures teachers face when it comes to finding and preparing resources for lessons. 

“The Plastic Changemakers Education Pack has been created by experts to allow teachers to focus their time wholly on delivering the lessons.”

The Plastic Changemakers Education Pack and “Action” episode will be available on The Breteau Foundation website in September when all educators will be able to download the pack for free and stream the episode.

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